I remember very little from my 11th grade American History class, but I definitely remember that monopolies were bad. All the politicians wanted to be Trust Busters and our textbook chapters on the Gilded Age were full of cartoons of big evil corporations eating up all the poor little companies, so they made anti-monopoly laws to stop that from happening.
All I had to do was pass a standardized test, so my understanding of the topic isn't very nuanced.
But, having watched Food, Inc. and King Corn, I have to wonder...
How the heck is Monsanto not considered one of those evil monopolies we have laws to keep from happening?
I am genuinely confused by this. If anyone could explain it, I'd be appreciative!
My understanding of the issue differs somewhat from yours. It was my understanding that the US and other western states do not have nearly enough laws in place regarding corporations (and, absolutely, that includes Monsanto), and the effects they can, and often do, have. Under US law, a corporation is a legal person - so if that corporation commits crimes against, say, the environment, the corporation itself (as opposed to the people it consists of) may be charged, for example.
There's an interesting interview with Marie-Monique Robin, who's recently produced a book about Monsanto, over here: http://www.slowfood.com/sloweb/eng/dettaglio.lasso?cod=3E6E345B0ce4928709NxO1498347
The short answer to the question? Money. Monsanto board members sit on the goverment panels which make the laws, and the company have an amazing lobbying group in Washington.
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